Thursday, October 14, 2010

Training Tips Thursday - Marathon Pacing

In a marathon race, it's suicide to start out at a pace that is way too fast!  It's a sure way to crash later, before reaching that tough 26.2 mile distance.

Every runner who runs a marathon wants to run the best race possible.  Running too fast may cause a lot of trouble making the distance.  However, running slower than necessary leaves time on the course that could have been used for a quicker finish.  A first-time marathoner often has no idea how to target a marathon race pace.  When running subsequent marathons, the runner's goal is normally to run the distance quicker than a previous race.  Either way, the runner may be trying to set a target without knowing what he ore she is really capable of.  I've found some good tools like the McMillan Running Calculator .  This tool lets the runner enter a "best time" at one distance to get an estimate of pacing at another distance.  Of course, this assumes that the runner is adequately trained to the rigors of the other distance.  A 5K race time would be a meaningless marathon predictor if the runner had never run more than 10 miles.

I recently came across an article on the Running Tips for All website that gives another method to determine possible marathon pacing, using times from interval runs of 10 800 meter repeats.  Pretty interesting.  Excerpts from the article follow:

The 10 x 800 Marathon Workout
If you think you can run a 3:30 marathon, then try running 10 repeats of 800 meters on the track. Each 800 should be 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Recover for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. And repeat. If you are shooting for a 4 hour marathon, then your 800 repeats should be 4:00 minutes (with 4 minutes recovery). It’s that simple! Yes, it also works for a 2:09 marathon, as well as a 5:30 marathon.

Determining Your Workout Pace
If you are not sure what pace you can hold, then start with your best guess and give it a try.
If you can’t do all ten at pace, your intervals need to be slower. Do all ten and still have plenty of energy? Cut the intervals down. You may have to change the workout several times over a two or three week period until you arrive at a workout pace that you can hold consistently. You should try to do your last 10 x 800 workout about two weeks prior to your marathon, but by then you should have a good idea what pace you should be running.


Jennifer said...

Good comments and I like the info in the second article. I usually write some goals on my arm with a sharpie and then just run the best I can!

Just_because_today said...

it remains unpredictable even in the best of circumstances but a solid training gives us a better way to face the distance.
I just wrote my report on my marathon. It was not what I expected either.